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What does Nigel Farage's decision to cut the number of Brexit candidates mean for the Anglia region?

Nigel Farage has always said the Anglia region is very fertile territory for his politics, first with UKIP and then with the Brexit Party.

The Brexit Party got 38% of the vote in the European elections in May in the East of England, which covers the six counties of Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

It also came a close second behind Labour in the Peterborough by-election in June.

But at this General Election the vast majority of voters in our region won't be able to back the Brexit Party.

Nigel Farage says his party will not field candidates in seats that the Conservatives won in 2017. That amounts to 317 of the 650 constituencies across the UK or 48% of them.

In the Anglia region though the Brexit won't be standing in nearly 90% of seats.

The Brexit Party has decided not to stand in 319 constituencies across the country where a Conservative was elected in 2019. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire/PA Images

The decision means that in the Anglia region, the Brexit Party will have candidates in just nine of the 69 constituencies:

  • Bedford - Labour majority 789
  • Buckingham - majority for John Bercow as Speaker was 25,725
  • Cambridge - Labour majority 12,661
  • Ipswich - Labour majority 836
  • Luton North - Labour majority 14,364
  • Luton South - Labour majority 13,925
  • North Norfolk - Lib Dem majority 3,512
  • Norwich South - Labour majority 15,596
  • Peterborough - Labour majority in 2017 was 607
Conservative leader Boris Johnson, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson and Green Party co-leader Sian Berry. Credit: PA Images

So what difference will it make?

Well I suspect those Conservative candidates in Tory marginals like Norwich North, Thurrock and Corby may be breathing a sigh of relief as the Brexit Party backing down is likely to mean votes that could have gone to the Brexit Party go back to the Conservatives.

But this an election in which Boris Johnson's aim is not just to hold on to all those seats that the Conservatives won last time but to increase that number by making gains.

And to do that there are some very marginal Labour seats like Bedford and Ipswich where Labour candidates are defending majorities under 1,000 votes.

In those seats, I expect Labour candidates will be pleased that a Brexit Party candidate could split the Leave vote .

There may yet be more twists and turns - in some places in the region some former Brexit Party candidates are going to continue to stand but as Independents.

Thursday is the close of nominations for this election, that's when we will find out exactly how many candidates are standing in each constituency and who they are.

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